No-Cost Holistic Living

By: Callie McBride

If a fear of costliness is preventing you from delving into the wonders of a holistic lifestyle, you are not alone. But, you may also be confused. Its no secret that organic meals and bi-weekly yoga classes can burn through your pocket quite quickly, but there are ways around those bright green dollar signs that offer you the same incredible benefits of living naturally and healthfully. The trick is to simply open your eyes! Scour the web, check out coffeehouse postings, and chat with your fellow yogis to learn about free deals; you will be amazed with what you will find.

Yoga, etc.

Often times yoga and pilates studios, as well as fitness centers, will offer complimentary classes to new customers. Core Power Yoga , Lulu Lemon retail stores, and YoGoer all offer free trials, just to name a few. Let Google be your friend and check out what studios in your areas do the same. Take advantage of those introductory classes to both try out different locations around your city and possibly discover a new favorite spot. I recently browsed the Internet for a martial arts class in Manhattan, and in about ten minutes I was registered for a free one-on-one lesson for the following week, that easy!

There are also studios that generously run classes by donation; if $5 is all you’ve got, they will gladly take it. Both Yoga To The People and Brooklyn Yoga School in New York boast this deal.

During the summer, outdoor yoga skyrockets and prices dip lower than ever. In fact, they disappear. Well and Good NYC puts together an annual Summer Fitness Guide for New Yorkers filled with free yoga, pilates, and bootcamps around all 5 boroughs. Classes include Bryant Park Yoga, Sixth Street Pilates, Washington Square Park Yoga, and much more.

Let’s not forget the wonderful online world of Youtube, home to plenty of fantastic fitness instructors that post free videos to do at home-my favorites are Tara Stiles and Cassey Ho of Pop Pilates. These women are consistent with uploading new videos and have mastered the art of training through the camera.

Meditation

Another important aspect of a holistic lifestyle is meditation, which can always be free. This summer, grab a blanket and pick a park to visit during your free time. Of course, chanting is optional, but ultimate relaxation and peace of mind is garaunteed. My NYC picks are Central Park, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and Riverside Park on the Upper West Side. With no shortage of parks wherever you live, meditation can be a quick and effective way to check in with your body and maintain a focus on your goals of healthy living.  If you need some guidance on how to start meditating, keep your eye out for guided meditation challenges from Deepak Chopra and other wellness experts!  There are also tons of free guided meditation apps available for your phone or iPad.

Organic Produce

No-Cost Holistic Living 2 | The Organic Beauty Blog

Organic and healthy foods generally aren’t free–though if you know of a place, shout it out. That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the bounty of organic food made available to us. For those of you who like to stock up on organic fruits and veggies, consider shopping wholesale. In New York, the Wholesale Greenmarket is your best bet. The vendors there grow their own produce, and “straight from the farm each morning, their products travel a very short distance ensuring premium quality, and greater food safety and traceability”. (grownyc.org/wholesale) By purchasing your fresh produce in bulk, or least in larger quantities, you’ll save both money and daily trips to the grocery store. The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market is another example that looks great and includes a huge list of merchants who deliver fresh produce each morning (www.sfproduce.org).  A local CSA can also be a super affordable option to eat organic.  NextDoorganics is an amazing CSA delivery that sends a huge bag of local organic produce and other goodies to your door for as little as $35 a week!

To sum up, cheap healthy living is entirely possible with a little determination and research. Once you find your collection of free and/or cheap spots, spread the word and get others in on the wonders of holistic living on a budget. Enjoy your mission to locate deals and steals throughout your city, and share what you find in the comments below!

Tastes of Brooklyn 2012

Saturday was one of those days that makes me feel sooo lucky to live in Brooklyn, the best city around!  Our beautiful neighborhood played host to not one but two awesome food events, Smith Street Soup Fest (benefitting The School For International Studies) and Tastes of Brooklyn (benefitting Seeds in the Middle, which works to empower Brooklyn’s neediest children to eat healthy, local food and stay active).

Tastes of Brooklyn was almost literally out our front door, being held at the Greenmarket at Borough Hall.  The event brought together 18 awesome Brooklyn restaurants like Saul, Brooklyn Farmacy, Benchmark, Egg, and Fornino, that have a local, farm-t0-table philosophy, each offering super seasonal tastings to enjoy.

Though there were lots of memorable tasty treats, our absolute favorite was Prospect Heights’ Aliseo Osteria del Borgo’s delicious trifecta of crostini with creamy cod, chestnut and white bean soup, and country-style pate.  They also threw in a scrumptious biscotti with currants and nuts.  Soooo good!

Other standouts were the Ribollita (traditional Tuscan stew made with seasonal vegetables and dried bread) from Locanda Vini e Olii in Clinton Hill, and the Moroccan-style roasted carrots with coriander and cumin from our own Cobble Hill’s La Vara (quite possibly our new favorite restaurant in the neighborhood!).

In such a locavore foodie borough, it’s so great to see restaurants really flaunt their commitment to seasonal Greenmarket fare in such a community-focused event.  And the cause couldn’t be more worthy.  Seeds in the Middle has such amazing initiatives as growing edible urban gardens where kids can learn about sustainability and healthy, produce-driven eating, student-run markets that offer healthy alternatives to the typical vending machine fare, hands-on cooking classes to get kids excited about making healthy food, and field trips to working farms, community gardens, and farmer’s markets.

Yet another reason we just can’t get enough of our beloved Brooklyn, and all it’s amazing tastes!